Thursday, November 28, 2013 Akethan's review of Call Me by Your Name: A Novel Akethan's review of Call Me by Your Name: A Novel

"Grow up. I'll see you at midnight." This book won me over - but I was well-near 1/3 in when it happened. The stream of conscious angst of a teenager - swinging from highs to lows and back - was neatly done, but almost drowned out any compassion for young Elio. Elio vibrates with constant need offset by awkward uncertainty. It is so raw and so real, to me, it was painful to read and struck close to home.

The author's writing at all times is sharp and fantastic. It calls up some great lines and fantastic images: "youth has no shame, shame comes with age"; "I was circling wagons around my life"; "unreal joy, joy with a noose tied around it"; "I'm tied up in so many knots that I need the Gordian treatment"; "all that remains is dreammaking and strange rememberance".

What made this story a keeper - was it's Narnia moments: "It never occurred to me that I had brought him here not just to show him my little world, but to ask my little world to let him in." - "where I dreamed of you before you came into life." The truth in the notion that in opening up to anyone - there's that fear of having what is mine rejected or having what is mine doing the rejecting. The heart versus the brain versus the spirit. And the award of acceptance: "two nights ago you added an annual ring to my soul." The story holds strong with that effect - and its counterpoint: "time is always borrowed, and that the lending agency exacts its premium precisely when we are least prepared to pay and need to borrow more."

The growth of Elio through his opening - in heart and in spirit - is great to follow as he ages and progresses through his love and his understanding of his love for Oliver.